Medical

dNovo's novel baldness treatment takes a direct route to hair regrowth

dNovo's novel baldness treatme...
dNovo has developed a promising new baldness treatment
dNovo has developed a promising new baldness treatment
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dNovo has developed a promising new baldness treatment
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dNovo has developed a promising new baldness treatment
A lab mouse seven months after receiving dNovo's stem cell treatment to promote hair regrowth
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A lab mouse seven months after receiving dNovo's stem cell treatment to promote hair regrowth

A new player has entered the hair loss scene promising a new form of treatment that takes a more efficient approach to regenerating lost follicles. Like many solutions in the space, dNovo's technology uses hair stem cells to replace cells lost through aging and male pattern baldness, but takes a more direct route to their production by skipping a common step in the cell reprogramming process.

Stem cells finds themselves at the heart of a lot of promising baldness treatments, with scientists demonstrating how dormant ones can be activated to promote hair growth, how making them more sticky can have similar effects and what the ideal conditions are for their development. A common and promising approach seeks to use induced pluripotent stem cells, which can be converted into epithelial stem cells normally found at the bulge of hair follicles.

The proprietary technology under development by dNovo is described as a direct reprogramming system, and seeks to convert a person's skin, blood, or fat cells directly into hair stem cells, completely skipping the intermediate pluripotent state. The company has demonstrated this approach in mouse models of baldness, which went on to sprout new hair after three weeks and had maintained it seven months later.

A lab mouse seven months after receiving dNovo's stem cell treatment to promote hair regrowth
A lab mouse seven months after receiving dNovo's stem cell treatment to promote hair regrowth

“Direct reprogramming technology does not rely on generating pluripotent cells but instead directly converts one cell type into another (for example, in our case, skin cells to hair stem cells)," said Dr. Ernesto Lujan, founder and CEO of dNovo. "This makes our system quick and scalable. We are further optimizing our technology platform, and look forward to working with potential partners to bring our reprogramming system to the next stage.”

The startup considers its results so far to be a demonstration of the feasibility of its approach, and there are others who believe it has great potential. Upon emerging from stealth mode last month, dNovo announced US$2.7 million in seed funding from Y Combinator and Felicis Ventures, among others, to continue developing its technology.

“We are very excited by dNovo’s early results,” said Niki Pezeshki, General Partner at Felicis Ventures. “Hair loss is one of the medical challenges that affects millions of people every year, but most current solutions only focus on slowing down hair loss. With dNovo, we see a fundamentally different approach to treatment as dNovo is actually regenerating new hair stem cells. This has the potential to become a real cure for hair loss.”

Source: dNovo via Business Wire

11 comments
11 comments
yawood
So, you'd need to apply it with gloves on and not touch yourself anywhere else!!
Malcolm Jacks
Keep me informed please.
paul314
People are dying every day of treatable diseases, civilization is in peril from climate change, and there are uncounted millions of dollars waiting to be spent on keeping middle-aged men from going bald.
Eli Willner
@paul314 People in Africa are starving and yet you spend money on three full means a day???
mmusheen
Paul314 cope. People are allowed to spend their money on what they want. How many treatments for other illnesses have come about as a byproduct of something else?
Signguy
paul314. The N. Pole was once a jungle with all kinds of creatures found in warm climates; is that Global Warming?
Follicle Thought
Malcolm, I will be sharing a brief interview with Ernesto Lujan in the coming weeks. Also yes, like others have mentioned, the pursuit of a cure for baldness is an unquestionably valid and important endeavor. The simple answer is: anyone who disagrees should likely spend some of their time/money working to solve those other problems that they find important.
guzmanchinky
I hate being bald. The sunburns and cold scalp are a pain in the head.
Phaedrus
I think it's shortsighted to claim we can't worry about small problems until every big problem is solved. As mmusheen points out, discovery can be a web and lots of things spring from breakthroughs that seem unrelated at the time. And it's not like a cure from baldness is simple vanity for middle aged men. Baldness can strike men and women, sometimes even in one's early 20's. Should a 20 year girl remain bald because there are starving people in the world?
Tissue&CellTech
Congrats to dNovo. Important step forward, and the advances this implies for application of stem cells for regenerative medicine will likely be used by paul314 in his old age!
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